Finding the Motivation to Keep Training…

This post is in partnership with Arla.

Sparkly Soul Boston Marathon finisher

I was asked by Arla Protein to share how I ‘keep going and keep growing’ to achieve my goals. And I immediately thought of my Boston Marathon goal.

I got a bit of schtick back in 2017 when I decided to run the Boston Marathon with a sponsor bib and achieve my goal to run the Marathon Majors before I was 30 and earn my Six Star Medal.

But getting that Boston marathon medal did not squash the dream of returning to the starting line having earned that Boston bib with a qualifying time.

I keep going because, no matter what, I will get that BQ. Whatever it takes and however long it takes.

Boston Marathon Kit Haul - Boston Marathon jacket

I watched my friend Heather, train her ‘tail off’ (her words!) for the last few years to gain that BQ. She earned one in 2016 at the St George Marathon only for the cut off times mean she missed out on her Boston bib.

Undeterred, she went back the following year by cutting 8 minutes off her time, securing an undeniable spot in Hopkinton.

Hackney Half Marathon and 5.5K

And whilst I know that a lot of runners have the Boston dream, there are many other BIG GOALS like running a sub 4 marathon, running an OTQ (olympic times qualifier), running a sub 3…

Having THE goal that you think is worth the work helps to keep going, regardless of the set backs.

I tried running a BQ in Chicago 2015 and failed…running a 4.10! I tried to get close in Boston 2017, and failed…running a 3.59. I trained for a BQ in Paris in 2018 and knew I didn’t have the mental strength for push. I pulled out of Big Cottonwood and Phoenix…

‘Failure is part of the process, that’s when you learn what you really want and where you’re willing to go for it’ – Kara Goucher

The key to getting over failure, other than trying again. Is to look at what went well, and what you could have improved on. As the team at Arla Protein pointed out, you have to ‘keep growing’.

Keep growing by identifying areas of weakness, things you can develop and build to become a stronger, faster runner. Or less likely to get injured. Or develop my mental strength.

Weight training – I now go to personalised group strength training classes at Go Perform in Reading twice a week. Having others training around me, coaches to ensure I’m doing the right thing and keeping me accountable.

My friend Kerry posed the question to me at lunch on Wednesday – what made the difference, how did I jump such a big hurdle in Phoenix, knocking off 7 minutes from my PB. The truth…having people believe in me. Someone else telling me I could do it, and me finally trusting and believing it.

Inner strength – reminding myself how much work I’ve put in, how I’ve put the trust into my coach, Ashley, and telling myself I can do hard things. Phoenix Half Marathon has been a huge confidence booster for me. As has the messages of support from others that have run BQ’s or are training for them.

I listened to Ashley (Running Bun)’s podcast with Ali on the Run last year covering her BQ at Chicago really resonated, and since meeting Ashley in New York in Nov, we’ve been chatting regularly. Her words of encouragement, especially after Phoenix, has been such a boost.

Consistency – I don’t run very high mileage weeks although they will be increasing over the next few months, topping out about 50-60 miles. However, aside from a few down weeks with injury, I have been running fairly consistently for the past 9 months.

Fuelling – I fuelled properly in a half marathon for the first time ever in Phoenix…and it worked. No surprises! I took a gel at 4 miles and 8 miles, and had an extra just incase!

I’m also learning how to fuel my workouts, both before and after.

On a Monday morning, I often run commute for my easy run into Uni in London. When I’m hungry, I tend to make poor food choice, picking up a cookie or croissant that is delicious but not very nutritious with my coffee. Instead, I try to take a snack with me that’s packed with protein without too much sugar – and the Arla Protein yogurt pouches are perfect. Easy to eat on the train or in my lecture mess free, no spoon required!

What is your goal? What do keeps you going? And how are you growing as you train?

2 Comments

  1. March 12, 2019 / 12:37 pm

    Those Arla Protein yoghurts are delicious and nutritious. I always have one after a long run and sometimes one for breakfast.

  2. March 17, 2019 / 11:54 am

    I really loved this post, you really captured the ‘long game’ that’s involved in achieving running goals. One thing I’ve found really useful when I have setbacks (frequent!) is reframe it as part of the journey – I was meant to go down that path to learn something, it’s all part of the road that leads me to my ultimate goal. If everything happened easily it wouldn’t be worth it.

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